Arizona Landscapes

This page shows the oil paintings I have done over the years. Let me know if you like them

Saguaro - oil on canvas

This is the first in a set of two. They are oils of cactus growing in my front yard.

Saguaro (second of pair) - oil on canvas

In fact, tall symmetrical cactus  are quit easy once their patterns are determined. Still I enjoy  making these paintings and will probably don more in the future.

Saguaro at Red Mountain

This oil painting is actually the first one I did when I moved to Arizona. However, I recall working from a photo for the cactus itself, and having a terrible time getting the colors right. In the end, going out into the desert and painting out in the open was the only solution. Based on the my final success working outdoors, I went into my backyard and finished the mountain (Red Mountain who don’t know) in a very short time. The final background area between the Saguaro and Red Mountain was done by going out into the desert near Canyon Lake. In all, I am happy with the overall outcome although this painting was done in bits and pieces over two years.

Tanto National Forest

Tanto was done at some point after Saguaro at Red Mountain. It too is an oil and that was necessary because it was done on site, and only oils stay wet in the hot Arizona dry air, giving me enough time to work. It took around 10 trips out by the river to get this finished, and to some degree the light changed over that time. In truth, the biggest problem working outdoors is the changing light. If I can work fast enough, the color and shadow remains constant. Making my life painting it easy. However, if the painting requires more than a few days, and stretches out into months, the lights hue and angle changes. Luckily, this didn’t take too long, and though a bit simple, came out okay I feel. The only problem with this piece is the sandy shore on the lower right. The colors kept getting muddy and I saw no easy way to fix it.

A more recent work made with liquid acrylics on canvas. I started with a photo and tried to do impressionism. Using smaller brushes in the top far background, and larger flat brushes for the foreground, I attempted to give the painting some depth. Not sure if it worked out all that well, but I do like the colors. The sky is a bit simple, but this subject is placed at mid day, and thus the Arizona sky has little to offer other than a solid cyan blue. As a side note, my daughter helped a bit with the orange flowers at the bottom. She is quite proud of this. I am too.

This is an oil on canvas, painted on site from the rooftop of the Red Mountain Ranch Country club. This painting took over six months, and truth be told, I do not think it came out as I expected given the amount of time invested. One problem with this work is the geometry. There are many straight lines that must handled carefully to give it a sense of photo realism. However, even though that was the challenge which made me want to paint at this location, it soon became a major burden. Taking way too much time, I ended up stalling and heading into the winter moths where the shadows and colors of the right (coral pink) wall changed drastically. In the end, I became very frustrated and ended the painting not quite happy. However, even though not perfect, I do like the colors and the fact that I learned a lot.

Hawaii

Many people like this oil painting. And yes it did come out all right. However, there is an entirely different painting underneath that never worked out. I originally tried to paint some brilliant green and red leaves, taken from a photo I had from our vacation at Lanai. However, it got harder and harder. Eventually i gave up on much of it, and started to overlay the painting with what you see here. In the end, I was happy but the misery of this oil is forever hidden under layers of paint.

Red Mountain Landscape

This is actually  3 large paintings which cover the entire wall in my dining room. I had a lot of space and wanted to have what looked like a mural there. I thought about making one large canvas draped over wood, but it was complicated, and in the end, I got three large canvases on sale and hammered them together before painting. Note that all three are my first foray into liquid acrylics using thinners. It is an amazing medium and now I am rather hooked on this. Paint brushes were not used, instead I used only small trim rollers (the small foam kind you get at home depot) and by rolling them exactly the same distance as their width, you get nice squares. The overall affect is cubism which, I do say did come out exactly as I had hoped. I would also point out that liquid acrylic with medium thinners allows the colors to be built up one layer at a time. In my opinion, this is what gives the painting a wonderful multi-dimensional look and feel. The only problem I encountered was getting the orange highlights correct. The problem was simply that I didn’t have the right color on hand. I tried making orange from a red base that had a bit of brown in it. All oranges that came from that were not bright enough. The problem was solved by getting a pure mix of bright color, that could be applied right from the tube. This taught me a very important point. Sometimes, the exact color really does matter, and can make or break a painting.

Afternooon Clouds

This was another liquid acrylic on canvas work made from a photo. It is only a single canvas, and even thought I liked very much the cubism I did earlier, there was not enough space to work with rollers. I thus had to work with large brushes. But overall, it came out well and I was very happy building up layers of think acrylic to get nice lighting affects. This was very important on the clouds, and mountain which looms up in the purple haze.

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